Michael Regan/Getty Images
Despite speculation surrounding his future, 19-year-old Paul Pogba has impressed in his recent Premier League appearances.
This year marked two high-profile failures for a club of United’s stature. The first came in November with the shock 2-1 League Cup defeat by Crystal Palace, and the next was the culminating failure in Europe, which saw United bow out in both the Champions League and Europa League.
The League Cup has traditionally been a place for young players to make appearances for the first-team (Ezekiel Fryers, Larnell Cole are two such players). Unfortunately, the players given their chance failed to deliver, and following the defeat, Ferguson publicly apologized for his side's performance.
After the Red Devils were eliminated from the Europa League against Athletic Bilbao in March, Sir Alex cited defensive failings as the main cause for their elimination, and put some of the onus on himself saying, “I took too many chances giving young players a run-out in an attempt to speed up their development and perhaps I asked too much of them.”
The last point most concerning to Sir Alex, is the drama surrounding the young French midfielder Paul Pogba. Still yet to have signed a new contract with United, Pogba looks also to be courting interest from Juventus in Italy.
Welbeck and Larnell Cole are also two contract rebels at the moment, and Sir Alex will not want Pogba to be a poor example of entitlement and youth integration. Ferguson will want to see his fledglings introduced to the squad on his terms, and not due to pressures from competing clubs with higher wage bills.
Next season will likely see a more revised approach by the United staff concerning the development of the youth in the team. Expect more experienced players making appearances in the Champion’s League, and much more rotation in the League Cup.
As was evident early last summer, only those capable of making the cut in the youth ranks will do so at United. And those deemed no longer worthy of wearing the red, white and black, will ply their trade in a lower division. This will allow the best of the youngest to shine as well as grant further opportunities for those yet to show their abilities to Warren Joyce with the Reserves.
Ferguson proved his detractors wrong in the 90s when they said, “You’ll never win anything with kids!” While those “kids” are far from it now some twenty years on, the manager will certainly be looking for the next bright young crop to be the heralds of United success, even after he has stepped down.